MAN AND WIFE
In 1959, Robert Lowell wrote a marvelous set of poems in a book called “Life Studies”.
One of his well known poem in this book is “Man and Wife”. Man and Wife deals with
a theme of personal tragedy typical of the Life Studies series. “The content of the poem
reflects a troubled marriage which can be seen when the author compares living with his
wife before and after he got married. In my view, the poet contrasted this poem skillfully
and reflected that he was very well read in classical poetry.
The author begins the poem by stating “ Tamed by Miltown , / we lie on Mother bed”.
This opening statement shows that he has been tranquilized (Miltown) with a drug and
he is lying on his mother bed along with his wife remembering his own mother and father
situation when they were married . He is so much into this drug that he is now used to it
and it doesn’t even effect him at all . The sun in second line is described as an Indian
warrior who "dyes red" the speaker and his wife upon its rising which shows that they are
getting ready to fight with each other as if they are in war . Usually sunrises express
happiness and start of new beginning but in
However , the condition which causes the poet to feel totally abandoned in his relationship is described by the term Dionysian ( Greek festival God) which shows that he is so lost into his own world of unconsciousness that he doesn"tmt even know that his relationship is ruining. In the 6-7 line of the poem " a fourth time faced the kingdom of the mad its hackneyed speech , its homicidal eye-- moreover, it becomes clear that the poet's wife must play a different role for the "fourth time" she has had to hold his hand and drag him home alive. Stating she holds not him but her pillow to the "hollows" of her unsatisfied body of sexual desire. Here the poet desperately shows that his wife has no meaning to his feeling and she is repeatedly hurting him by using vulgar speech . The author thinks that he is in half body with no soul and is in turmoil of mental distress by her wife behavior towards him. He explains how she was at that time sweet ,innocent and young and how he was shy , quiet and love at first sight kind of guy . this case it represents disagreement and thus the end to couple"tms relationship. This explains that he was so in love with her that his heart came up to his mouth this usually happens when you are nervous and cant say what you want. In the third line of the poem the speaker describes the bed-posts as shining, which is ironic because it is non living object which is receiving the sun shine but the couple is not because there relationship is into dark sunset. " And now he recalls the night, so different from this "homicidal" one, when he first met her. The poet ironically recalls his former self, "once hand on glass and heart in mouth, outdrank the Rahvs in the heat of Greenwich Village, fainting at your feet". The phrase "Oh my Petite, clearest of all God's creatures, still all air and nerve" sounds detached from the poem, but within the context it defines the speaker's wish to let his wife know that he still admires and loves her even if his love is impotent Although she must act the role of Mother to him, he wants to think of her as his "Petite. Again the focus is on setting rather than on emotion.